Outstanding Combat & Intriguing Paranormal Plot Make Control a Must-Play

User Rating: 8 | Control XONE

Control was not a game that was on my radar. Despite loving Alan Wake and enjoying the time travel strangeness of Quantum Break, Remedy's newest title being steeped in paranormal oddity was something that did not appeal to me at all. But since all of the early reviews I heard were overwhelmingly positive and a special deal appeared that allowed me to get the game on opening weekend for only half price, I took the plunge.

And I am so glad that I did, because Control was an absolute blast to play. The combat is something so memorable and hard to compare to anything else. For a third-person action game the gun play is very solid, and there is at least an attempt to diversify the weapon types available to the player. The game shines, though, in the use of its force-like abilities - the best of which is a telekinetic throw that is endlessly fun to use, both on enemies and the always destructible environments. It's amazing how smooth the combat feels, whether you're hovering in the air and flinging a rock ripped off of a wall or dodging enemy attacks to fire back with a charged up stun grenade.

The story (surprisingly to me) isn't that hard to follow for most of the game. Towards the end it definitely starts to go off the rails, though, and becomes increasingly confusing in exactly the way I had feared. I was engrossed in this world, however, and found myself gobbling up every detail I could in the many collectibles found throughout while exploring the mysterious Oldest House. Despite an overall great experience that kept me wanting to come back to the game any time I was away, it's this deep dive into weirdness and the game's many terrible technical bugs that held it back for me, unfortunately. I was playing the game on Xbox One (which is supposed to be the most sound version) and I frequently experienced screen blanking for 1-3 seconds at a time. I also had major stuttering and performance issues when in large scales battles, which caused me several frustrating deaths requiring me to traverse my way back to where I was and fight my way back to the point where the game had locked up earlier. I wanted to write these off because I had a fantastic time playing Control, but that wouldn't be honest. They were annoying and not something a finished product should include.

All this said, Control is easily one of the best games I've played in 2019 and I am excited to go back in and finish up all of the side missions while anxiously awaiting the game's DLC.